A parliamentary panel has expressed concern over delay in disposal of pensioners' grievances beyond the stipulated time limit of 60 days, and asked the Centre to constitute social audit panels to identify core complaints prone areas and streamline their systems. Noting a steep increase in the number of re-registered grievances over the years, the panel suggested putting up an accountability mechanism in place and explore the feasibility of holding the grievance redressal authorities concerned answerable for summarily disposing of grievances without appropriate qualitative action.
It also asked the government to sympathetically consider the demand of pensioners' associations for 5 per cent additional quantum of pension on attaining the age of 65 years, 10 per cent on 70 years, 15 per cent on 75 years and 20 per cent on 80 years to the pensioners.
The recommendations by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions were made in its report titled 'Pensioner's Grievances--Impact of Pension Adalats and Centralised Pensioners Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPENGRAMS)'.
CPENGRAMS is a centralised web-enabled pension grievance redress and monitoring system for speedy redressal and effective monitoring of pension-related grievances of pensioners. Pensioners can submit their grievances online or through pensioner associations or send it through postal dak.
A total of 39,975 pensioners grievances were received during 2020-21 (till January 26, 2021) and 35,409 were redressed.
As many as 39,685 such grievances were received in 2019-20 (36,281 redressed), 41,592 in 2018-19 (38,308 redressed), 34,447 in 2017-18 (31,662 redressed) and 31,005 during 2016-17 (27,772 were redressed).
The report mentioned details of "major ministries/departments" wherein the timeline of 60 days for disposal was breached.
The committee is concerned to note that, on an average, 20 per cent of grievances are not being disposed of within the stipulated time limit, it said.
"The committee recommends the department to instruct the ministries/departments of central government to constitute social audit panels to identify core grievance prone areas and streamline their systems accordingly," said the panel headed by BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
It further recommended the Department of Pension and Pensioners' Welfare (DoPPW) to take up the matter with higher authorities of the concerned ministries/ departments and impress upon them to resolve the grievances within the prescribed time limit.
Noting that DoPPW has identified core grievance prone areas which account for a large number of complaints lodged on CPENGRAMS, it said majority of grievances lodged on the portal are related to delay or incorrect sanction of pension/family pension and other retirement benefits, non-payment of arrears of pension and revision of pension/family pension/pension payment order among others.
"The committee recommends the department to rope in Quality Council of India and enable the agencies involved in pension authorisation, sanctioning, processing and disbursement to streamline their systems so as to mitigate the volume of grievances and also to ensure citizen satisfaction," the report said.
The committee notes that there is a steep increase in the number of re-registered grievances over the years, it said.
"This, coupled with the feedback given by the aggrieved, drives home the point that the quality of grievance redressal is not satisfactory," the report said.
The DoPPW may put an accountability mechanism in place and explore the feasibility of holding the grievance redressal authorities concerned answerable for summarily disposing of grievances without appropriate qualitative action, it said.
The panel also suggested DoPPW to consider pensioners' bodies request for giving 5 per cent additional quantum of pension to be commenced on attaining the age of 65 years, 10 per cent on 70 years, 15 per cent on 75 years and 20 per cent on 80 years.
At present, central government pensioners are entitled to receive an additional quantum of pension equivalent to 20 per cent of basic pension on attaining the age of 80 years, 30 per cent on attaining 85 years, 40 per cent on attaining 90 years, 50 per cent on attaining 95 years and 100 per cent on crossing 100 years, the report said.
The committee said it is very much cognizant of the social churning taking place in our society over the years.
"The joint family system is breaking down giving way to nuclear families. The growth of nuclear families due to geographical and social mobility have further led to rise in individualism and individualistic thinking, and the generation who want to live away from shackles of joint families and patronage of elderly parents or grandparents," it said.
According to one estimate, by 2050, the share of population over the age of 60 is likely to increase significantly in the country, the report said.
"In view of such changes at societal level, we need to have a robust pension system for elderly which can help them survive in this world without being a burden on anyone," per cent it said.
The committee is of the view that the government should sympathetically consider the demand of pensioners' associations for 5 per cent additional quantum of pension on attaining the age of 65 years, 10 per cent on 70 years, 15 per cent on 75 years and 20 per cent on 80 years to the pensioners, the report said.
The committee recommends DoPPW to pursue vigorously with the finance ministry and apprise it of the outcome, it added.
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